When should I self-isolate?

The increase in both symptomatic and symptom free testing is a big step forward in the fight against the pandemic, but testing is only the first step, people must self-isolate to stop the spread.  

Please do your part to stop the spread by self-isolating immediately if:  

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste). Please book a test immediately gov.uk/coronavirus or call 119 
  • you’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus (self-isolate for 10 days) 
  • someone you live with has symptoms or has tested positive (self-isolate for 10 days and see if you develop symptoms – if so, get tested) 
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms and you’ve been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started 
  • someone in your support bubble tested positive and you’ve been in close contact with them since they had the test or in the 48 hours before their test 
  • you’ve been told that you’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app 
  • you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk – see GOV.UK: how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK 

If you self-isolate you must stay at home, you cannot: 

  • go out to work 
  • go shopping 
  • go out to exercise 
  • go out with members of your household or meet anyone else  

If you are struggling financially, please don’t avoid getting a test if you have symptoms. If you need to isolate, we can help you – we’ve paid £65,000 to help residents so far.  

It’s critical that you fill in the form properly – more than half the applications we receive are incomplete and cannot be processed. However, if you are eligible and you let us know your details, we will be able to cover your £500 isolation payment. 

Find out more 

Please remember that you are breaking the law if you don’t self-isolate when one of the following applies: 

  • you test positive for coronavirus 
  • the NHS tell you to self-isolate because you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus 
  • your school tells you to self-isolate because you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus 

If you break the law, the police could fine you £1,000.  If you’ve been fined for not self-isolating before they can fine you up to £10,000. 

If you or someone you know needs support while isolating please contact our Merton COVID-19 Community Response Hub between 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday on: 020 8685 2272 or at help@mvsc.co.uk